The Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M., is slated to speak during Niagara University's second undergraduate commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 11. It will be the final graduating class that he will address as president of Niagara University.
Levesque will step down from the President's Office this summer after spending 13 years at the helm of the Catholic and Vincentian institution.
Niagara University will hold three commencement events this week - two for undergraduates - as well as a special liturgy and ROTC commissioning, all of which will take place on the upper level of the Gallagher Center. Admission will be granted to ticketed guests only.
The keynote speaker for Niagara's graduate commencement exercises, scheduled for Thursday, May 9, at 7 p.m., will be Kenneth D. Taylor, the former Canadian ambassador to Iran who helped orchestrate the escape of six Americans from captivity during the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979. For his efforts, Taylor has received the United States Congressional Gold Medal, The Order of Canada and keys to the cities of New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Dallas. From 1998 to 2004, Taylor served as chancellor of Victoria University in The University of Toronto. He, William Lishman, an award-winning sculptor, filmmaker, inventor, naturalist and public speaker, and John M. Howard, an NU Trustee and owner of John Howard Cellars of Distinction, will receive honorary degrees.
On Friday, May 10, Niagara will host a senior class brunch at 10 a.m. and a celebratory event at noon. At 3:30 p.m., a commencement liturgy will take place in the upper level of the Gallagher Center, during which the Most Rev. Richard J. Malone, bishop of Buffalo, will be presented with an honorary Doctor of Laws. The day concludes with a senior class gala at 5 p.m. and the ROTC commissioning at 7 p.m.
Nik Wallenda, the world-renowned daredevil who triumphantly crossed Niagara Falls on a two-inch steel wire last June, will deliver the commencement address to Niagara's colleges of Business Administration and Hospitality and Tourism Management on Saturday, May 11, at 10 a.m. He and John P. Rumschik, president and chief operating officer of M&T Insurance Agency Inc., will receive honorary degrees.
At 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 11, Niagara's colleges of Arts and Sciences and Education will hear from Levesque, NU's fourth-longest tenured president and the man responsible for spearheading the most transformational period in the university's 156-year history. Levesque will be presented with the university's prestigious Medal of Honor in light of his numerous contributions to Niagara University and the surrounding communities.
For more information on Niagara University's 2013 commencement ceremonies, visit www.niagara.edu/commencement.